Monday, December 15, 2014

If I think x is wrong, does that make me x-phobic?

Odd piece by Giles Fraser in the Guardian a couple of days back, writing about Operation Christmas Child:

this literature promotes an exclusivist version of Christianity in the form of innocuous-looking comic book with the sinister message slipped in: “There is only one way to be friends with God.” In many places these boxes are distributed, this is thinly disguised code for: Islam is wrong.

I have two problems with this:

1. To say that something is wrong doesn't make you a phobic. This is a trick that goes all the way back to Freud, and probably long before: 'Disagreeing with me is nothing to do with my bad logic, it is an emotional flaw in you that is the problem'. Some things are right/true/correct and some things are wrong/mistaken/incorrect. Pointing out that something belongs in the later category, whether it's a system of thought or an answer in to a maths question, isn't a psychological condition. 

2. Last time I looked Giles Fraser was a CofE vicar, a Christian. Christians believe that Jesus is the incarnate Son of God, the Messiah, God in human form who dies for our salvation and rises again so that we might rise with him. (plus some small print). Jesus is both the fullest revelation of God on earth, and the God-given path to a restored relationship with God now an in eternity. That's what Jesus said he was, and that's what Christians believe. The leaflet simply paraphrases this: does that make Jesus himself sinister?

So someone else then turns up a few hundred years later, be they Mohammed or Joseph Smith, and claims to have a better idea than Jesus about who God is, how he is at work, and how to live in response to this. No Christian can logically go 'oh well, that's fair enough, you're just as likely to be right as Jesus'. There are flat contradictions between the Koran and the Bible. Jesus and Mohammed cannot both be right about themselves and about God. God isn't going to turn up in person to save the world, and then a few hundreds years later go 'oh that didn't work, I'll just go back to using prophets'. 

I believe Islam is wrong because I believe Jesus is who he says he is. (To put this in perspective, I also believe there are certain traditions of thought within Christianity that are wrong, along with capitalism, communism, buying t-shirts made in sweatshops, texting during a conversation, and using Facebook as a form of therapy. I'm a mass of phobias) But lets have an adult, reasoned discussion about it, rather than chucking abusive labels at people who don't see things the way we do, closing down the debate before its even begun. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you've written this - I glanced over this the other day, without paying attention to who penned it. I never would have guessed a vicar! Although this has opened my eyes to something our church has supported for a few years (although, not this year, as we have chosen to support a homeless charity closer to home). However, there are many words to describe this - in my opinion islamophobic isn't one of them.